TWIABP add new textures to their finely tuned sound to make another unique and memorable record.Read More
It's not a mystery that the world is often fueled by corruption. Whether it be the top percentage cheating the middle and lower classes or insane politicians taking control, the world is over run with chaos. That very principle has made Kate Tempest very angry.
The English poet has released her second record Let Them Eat Chaos, and it's full of anger. It's not a yelling record, though - she has taken an interesting direction, creating a blasting hip-hop record that begs and pleas for understanding. It's riddled from top to bottom with powerful lyrics without sounding immature or angry as an inferiority complex.
The album isn't an immediate click. It grows with you sort of like an underdog - it starts off jarring but you slowly start to root for it as it progresses. It kicks off with the spoken word 'Picture A Vacuum', it has you wondering if you stumbled into a The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die album. The purpose starts becoming clearer as 'Lionmouth Door Knocker' starts setting a scene above a groovy beat and pulsing instrumental. The lyrics are eyeopening and really sets the scene of the record: do you know what's going on around us?
The album is highly political but in a very understandable way, particularly in the middle-class Londoner perspective. 'Ketamine For Breakfast' sustains the image of bleak life in the boroughs of England's cities. That song's meaner, upfront tonality leads into 'Europe Is Lost', the first reality check on the record. The five and a half minute track is a stark slamming of the tendencies of life, the very grassroots beat providing a raw and dirty aspect to the song, riddled with brilliant thoughts and great melodies.
This album is upfront with a purpose - every moment is plotted out to say something. 'Grubby' is passionate, the delivery restricted but clearly full of anger, as if Tempest is on the border of blowing. There's introspection in tracks like 'Brews', speaking of selfish desires while the atmosphere backs 'Pictures On A Screen' as a one-way conversation with herself slowly devolves into a fear of the future. 'Perfect Coffee' has a industrial vibe to it, its big instrumental supporting its dramatic moments as the casual scene it exhibits is dissected by Tempest. The closing track, perhaps the most jarring of all, 'Tunnel Vision' ends the record on a note of oppression - a cry for justice and an admittance to her tire of the world. It sums up the album all in one simple phrase: "existence is futile."
The issue with this album lies in the fact that it doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a poetry reading or a blasting hip-hop record. It's a mix of the two, and a good one at that, but its identity crisis often times interrupts the album's flow. The odd spoken word parts may serve well as songs with a beat backing them rather trying to be dramatic. One example is penultimate track 'Breaks', a song with a minimal beat as Tempest tells a vivid story. It begs for a more riveting instrumental with a beat, the droning synth that punches in and slowly builds with sounds doesn't satisfy it; in fact, it distracts the listener from the song. Other songs seem to want to be poems more than songs - 'We Die' is all about giving love and and appreciating life, but its lyrics don't really constitute a song. The cool beat and instrumental of 'Don't Fall In' is cut way too short, as if it wanted to be a poem but was made into a song instead.
Kate Tempest has a lot to say about our way of life and how it revolves everyday. Let Them Eat Chaos is about corruption and monotony, and how the two often play a closely intertwined dance. Her jarring imagery and provoking lyrics slam the world and its processes, begging for something different and for justice to be served. Those who want to revolt against the power can follow Tempest, but the others can continue living in their controlled chaos.
Favorite Tracks: Europe Is Lost Perfect Coffee, Pictures On A Screen
Least Favorite Tracks: Brews, Picture A Vacuum
Rating: 77 / 100
Have you ever been hit by a freight train? If you have, congratulations on surviving. If you haven’t, Loma Prieta can give you a taste of what exactly that feels like. This San Francisco band has returned, following up their massive 2012 album, I.V. with Self Portrait. Between the massive walls of noise, Loma Prieta is back with a more refined sound and a thicker soundscape to rock your mind.
Going into this album is like being thrown into a pit, full of angry, hungry wolves, ready to tear your flesh apart. Some freight train collision, huh? The opening track, “Love” begins this monster album on a mild note, beginning with arpeggiated (albeit, distorted) guitar before screaming vocals kick in, barreling drums soon following. This is about as soft as it gets on this album. “Black Square” follows up “Love”, beginning with thundering drums a feedback buildup to more angry screams. The chorus brings us to the point of no return on the album - the distorted powerchords under extreme vocals are upon us. The album continues to march forward, each track being another punch in the face. The album, in fact, gets even crazier as it continues. “Merciless” is probably one of the most mind-bogglingly epic tracks on the album, beginning with what could be passed as a punk version of the intro to Deftones’ “Change (In The House Of Flies)”, this song embodies what hardcore punk mixed with noise rock is: confusion and sonic brutality. “Rings” continues the insanity, with pounding kick drums and giant distorted guitars knocking you out with every hit.
The concluding track of the album, in contrast, ends it on a lighter note. “Satellite” begins as the cleanest track on the album. It does eventually kick into another heavy-hitting punk rock banger as the choruses pick up, but it still shows a progression in the band’s sound, exhibited elsewhere in the album, too: a “happier” vibe. The band attempts to stray away from a purely negative sound at several moments on the album. This includes “Never Remember” (which could be passed for a really heavy The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die song) and “More Perfect”, two tracks that are uncharacteristically happy for Loma Prieta.
And so, as lightly it began, a crescendo of noise lifts you out of the sonic experience of Self Portrait. Barreling towards a happier sound, Loma Prieta has developed a fuller sound, maintaining the heaviness of previous efforts all the while mixing in lighter moments to lead the listener to a false sense of security, before bombarded by a massive wall of noise. They have mastered the art of noise (that is, feedback) and built it into powerful, hard-hitting tracks, keeping every track fresh and new. Congratulations, you have survived a direct collision from a freight train.
Favorite Tracks: Merciless, Love, Satellite
Least Favorite Track: Never Remember
Dylan’s Top 10 Albums of 2014
Seems hard to believe such a life changing year is ending, for me, anyway. Friends were made, lives were changed, dreams fulfilled. Who could care less, though? This is about music, not dreams. Well, in reality, the two go hand in hand. Music is made of dreams. 2014 was a great year for music on all fronts. Pop saw new efforts from Katy Perry, Ariel Pink and iamamiwhoami. Rock obtained new titles including Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways and Slipknot’s .5: The Gray Chapter. Metal saw new releases from Epica and Skyharbor. I can’t name a single genre that didn’t see an exceptional release this year.
Among the hundreds of albums released this year, these are a few that stuck out to me. Keep in mind, it is nothing more than opinion. I couldn’t possibly name EVERY album I enjoyed (I’m too lazy AND I’d probably break multiple character limits), though there were a myriad of such. Without further adieu, here’s number 10:
10) The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Between Bodies
It’s hard to even generalize what these guys are all about. Combining a bit of punk, indie and emo rock into their songs, they bring a very notable sound to the table. This album is all about speaking their thoughts. It’s pretty evident that they couldn’t give less of a shit about what they’re doing; they’re doing it because they can. From the haunting recollections of ‘Lioness’ to the enraged chants of ‘Autotonsolarialist,’ this album covers a lot of ground. Upon the resonating drums and pulsating guitars, the vocals feel like just another instrument in this whole. The album feels perfect for both politically angry adults and middle-fingers-to-the-establishment teens, all the while making sure they don’t seem caught up in being overly dramatic. All in all, an incredible release from an exceptional band.
Favorite Tracks: Lioness, Autotonsolarialist
9) Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter
Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of Slipknot until this year. I considered ‘Snuff’ one of the greatest works of art ever produced, and ‘Vermillion Part 2’ trailing in its footsteps, yet I never enjoyed their heavier material. That was, of course, until I heard this record. I remember hearing ‘The Negative One’ upon its release and being a bit uncertain of whether or not I would enjoy this album. It wasn’t until I heard ‘The Devil In I’ that I was sold on hearing this record. Despite not being a fan of Slipknot, I’m huge on Stone Sour, so this was a very inviting sound to me. The album is introduced with the eerie ‘XIX,’ in which Corey Taylor effectively claims that he has had enough. The album has its incredibly intense moments, namely ‘Custer’ and ‘AOV,’ but nevertheless delivers some truly meaningful moments that the band has proved they are capable of, namely in the chorus of ‘The One That Kills The Least’ and ‘If Rain Is What You Want.’ The satire of ‘Killpop’ and the brutality of ‘The Negative One’ keeps the album original every step of the way, as any good album should be. From barely being a fan to head banging along with the jams, this album has proven to me to be one of the best of 2014.
Favorite Tracks: The Devil In I, XIX, The One That Kills The Least
8) IAYD - I Am Your Destruction
Nowadays, it’s risky to venture into certain genres, especially one as presumed as chiptunes. 8-bit music has always been a minority in the overall gist of things in the music community, only shining within retro games such as Castlevania and most games in the early phases of the Mega Man series. The guy has changed the bar. I Am Your Destruction, abbreviated to IAYD, released his eponymous album this year, and made sure it packed a punch. Full of thick beats and huge drops, this album is Mega Man taken to the next level, no pun intended. The album opens up strong with ‘Intro AF’ and the monster that is ‘No Closure’, continues to bring the power with tracks like ‘Too Turnt’ and ‘Get Death,’ concluding it all with the journey that is ‘Dolores.’ In a questionable genre such as chiptunes, this album has proven to be one of the reasons why it should not be ignored.
Favorite Tracks: Dolores, Kurai Heya
7) Pianos Become The Teeth - Keep You
It’s always interesting when a heavier band takes it down a notch. Pianos Become The Teeth have toned down their post-hardcore sound to take up a more approachable, alternative rock sound comparable to a fusion of Incubus and Framing Hanley. While not being too big a fan of their earlier work, I can play this album on repeat for hours upon hours. Something about it is so infectious, I can’t exactly put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s the atmospheric, understated instrumentals that intertwine throughout the album, or the flowing melodies of Kyle Durfey. Alternative Rock being my favorite genre, it’s hard for me not to enjoy an album. It is similarly as hard for me to truly love an album like I do with this one. The album opens up with ‘Ripple Water Shine,’ one of my favorite tracks of the year. ‘April’ continues the minimalistic energy whilst all the while keeping my attention, which can sometimes be proven to be a hard thing (I tend to multitask whilst listening to music). Overall, an incredible release.
Favorite Tracks: Ripple Water Shine, April, The Queen
6) Issues - Issues
The hype surrounding this album upon its release was definitely warranted. Issues took the post-hardcore world by storm, essentially creating a fusion of pop and scream in an elaborate way. The album features hits like ‘Late’ and ‘Stingray Affliction,’ which are definitely some monster tracks. The seamless mix between Oli Sykes-esque screams and Justin Timberlake-esque vocals leave you questioning what you really think about this. After all, it’s almost like Justin Bieber over metal (before you get offended in some way, just listen to ‘Late’ - there’s SOME truth to it). When your jamming to the likes of ‘Personality Cult’ and ‘Sad Ghost,’ however, those thoughts will make little influence on the overall quality. They don’t forget to mix it up, either - ‘Disappear (Remember When)’ features a choir to conclude the album on a high note. The power the band displayed in this album earned them a guest spot on Linkin Park’s Warped Tour performance earlier this year in Ventura, California during ‘Faint’ - you can’t get much better than that!
Favorite Tracks: Personality Cult, Disappear (Remember When), Late
5) You Me At Six - Cavalier Youth
Everybody loves a good anthem. Cavalier Youth is packed with these. You Me At Six is known for their relatable songs, packed with a punch and tons of emotion. This album is no exception. The idea of this album is that you should never let age stop you. Always let that childish desire burn within you and never let it die. A powerful thing to know. With songs like ‘Fresh Start Fever’ and ‘Wild Ones,’ that passion won’t be too hard to achieve. Truth be told, there’s not much left to say about this one. This album brings all the power, motivation and happiness that it does in such an unfathomable yet undeniable way, which is why it deserves the number five spot in this list.
Favorite Tracks: Fresh Start Fever, Wild Ones
4) Elk Road - Waiting For Your Waves To Pass
Understated and sophisticated, Elk Road’s Waiting For Your Waves To Pass is probably the best dubstep album to be released this year. While receiving relatively big attention amongst the Soundcloud and underground-dubstep community earlier this year, this album has only gotten some of the rightful exposure it deserves. Combining elements of jazz, blues, and funk into infectious beats and intense drops in a magical way. After shutting himself out from music for 3 months, he comes back and manufactures all of this from scratch. A truly incredible record, definitely worth a listen if you haven’t already heard it.
Favorite Tracks: Diamond, Pool On My Mind
3) Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Forget Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea, Royal Blood is THE breakout artist of the year. They took the rock world by storm with their eponymous debut earlier this year, earning them rightfully deserved attention across the globe. The duo brings an interesting treat to the table - bass guitar as lead guitar. Questionable on paper but incredible in execution. Hailing jams like ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton,’ this album ROLLS. One of the hugest rock sounds I’ve heard this entire year? ‘Better Strangers.’ In today’s day and age, in an industry dominated by pop, it’s very refreshing to see such a pure and experimental rock album such as Royal Blood reach the levels of fame that it has.
Favorite Tracks: Better Strangers, Ten Tonne Skeleton
2) Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Foo Fighters are probably one of the biggest, if not THE biggest rock bands to have ever existed. Well, maybe not as well known as the next, but I digress. They’re huge. This record is a testament to that. Recorded in eight different cities of musical historical importance, Sonic Highways explores the interconnectivity and stories behind certain themes and places. Each song packs its own punch - everything between ‘Something From Nothing’ and ‘I Am A River’ promises to be huge, and delivers in a perfect way. Truly bringing out the best of the Foo Fighters, this album will definitely be one for the records. It’s made a powerful mark in my books, and its sure to leave a lasting memory in yours.
Favorite Tracks: Something From Nothing, In The Clear
Before I get into my favorite album of the entire year, here are some albums that I adored that were released this year but didn’t quite make the cut, in no particular order. Definitely worth checking out.
iamamiwhoami - Blue
Anberlin - Lowborn
Banks - Goddess
Memphis May Fire - Unconditional
Of Mice & Men - Restoring Force
Hanz Zimmer - Interstellar: OST
Against The Current- Infinity EP
Within Temptation - Hydra
Panopticon - Roads To The North
1) Linkin Park - The Hunting Party
Ah, Linkin Park. The biggest rock band the world knows today. Whether or not you like them is out of the question - they are undeniably the biggest band on the planet. Everyone knows them, whether it be for ‘In The End’ or ‘Numb’, or ‘Burn It Down’ or ‘One Step Closer.’ The fact is - they still exist, and they still kick ass. The Hunting Party is a testament to the current ideology that “rock is dead.” If this year has proved anything, it’s that rock is certainly not dead. Rock is bigger and stronger than ever - The Hunting Party, Sonic Highways, Royal Blood and more all prove that. From beginning to end, Linkin Park lays down relentless walls of noise that melt your face off while leaving you with a pleasant aftermath of wanting more. Opening heavily with the distorted screams of ‘Keys To The Kingdom’ to the heavy chorus of ‘All For Nothing’ featuring Page Hamilton from Helmet, this album opens up huge. Heading into the monstrous six minute ‘Guilty All The Same’ featuring hip-hop legend Rakim, the energy does not let up until the short reprieve that is ‘The Summoning,’ which immediately bursts into the punk rock, Bad Religion-influenced ‘War.’ The energy gets you jumping with the powerful verses of ‘Wastelands’ which transitions into the giant ballad that is ‘Until It’s Gone’ (which has one of the best instrumentals the band has ever performed). After that, the band jumps straight in to the heavy demon that is ‘Rebellion’ featuring Daron Malakian from System Of A Down (characeristically the only Linkin Park song in Drop C tuning) and into ‘Mark The Graves,’ which will throw curveballs at you left and right. The last moment to recover from what bombs just went off on you from the massive noises you just heard: ‘Drawbar’ featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, a beautiful piano-driven track which transitions into ‘Final Masquerade,’ arguable one of the best songs the band has ever written. The album concludes with the odyssey called ‘A Line In The Sand,’ exploding with riffs and powerful screams.
This album topped off the list because it exhibits the raw, distinct need that music needs today. Too many bands have begun to abandon their rock sounds in order to cater to the more accessible crowds of the pop world. While many of these bands do manage to pull it off, rock is undeniably the most influential genre out there, and Linkin Park will continue to be at its head for years to come.
Favorite Tracks: Final Masquerade, A Line In The Sand, Guilty All The Same, Rebellion
And so, my list has come to an end. Sorry for wasting your time, and I do hope you enjoyed reading my silly opinions. What did you think of 2014 album-wise? Next on my Top 10s list will be my top 10 songs of 2014, which will be followed by my top 10 songs overall. Until next time.